"As the management guru Peter Drucker once put it, 'culture eats strategy for breakfast'," says William Reeve. "I happen to believe that the winning breakfast is a combination of great culture and great strategy - but either way, it starts with the culture."
Goodlord's CEO isn't the only one who feels this way: culture is fundamental to the UK's Best Workplaces Awards - which named Goodlord the UK's 10th best large organisation to work for in 2022. "At its simplest," Claire Knights, Director of Marketing and Growth at Great Place to Work, which determines the best workplaces through extensive surveys and culture audits, the award "helps to understand and quantify workplace culture". It's easy for companies to claim that they have a people-centric culture, but an external assessment "helps us calibrate and learn from others," says Reeve.
A great culture has never been more important. The Great Resignation is hitting many organisations hard, with 40% of employees considering quitting in the next three to six months, according to data from McKinsey. "These numbers can be truly terrifying," says Knights. "Our own data shows that millennials in particular – who make up the largest generational working cohort in the UK (more than 14.2 million) – are desperately seeking equity, transparency, flexibility and purpose."
Transparency is fundamental to Goodlord's culture. "We've had our fair share of ups and downs over the years and maintaining our culture has been crucial to overcoming those challenges," says co-founder Tom Mundy. "Transparency has played a big part in that. We've always prided ourselves on being an open book and I do think that's a key part of why people love working here." 'Goodlordians', as our company's employees are affectionately known, agree: in the Great Place to Work survey, 95% of people said that "management keeps me informed about important issues and changes".
And, in keeping with being an open book, Goodlord's Director of People Joanna Harman recognises it won't necessarily be a great place to work for everybody. "It’s a company that demands a lot - we work at a fast pace, we need quick thinkers, speedy deliverers, and Goodlordians who are genuinely ambitious," she says. "That's not comfortable or right for everyone and that can mean it's not always easy."
That's why we've made values a fundamental part of our interview process. In addition to looking at prospective employees' role-related skills, we also have a separate 'values' interview - conducted by Goodlordians from outside the hiring team - so both we and the person applying for a job can figure out if the company culture is going to be one that's right for them. "For me, Goodlord's a lively, challenging, and rewarding place to work - and that’s what makes it great," says Harman.
Benedict Gautrey, Managing Director at Great Place to Work, says that the "best workplaces put people and purpose first". Goodlord's purpose - building the best rental experience in the world - is clear to everyone from day one, and so too is the fact that people are central to achieving that mission. "Almost everyone says the reason that they enjoy what they do is the people that they work with. We're a fast growing tech business that wants to attract top talent - and we're not going to be able to do that without our people," says Reeve.
Mundy agrees: "Our mission is a big one - we're aiming to completely transform the way that people rent," he says. "Ultimately, this award is testament to every single Goodlordian that rocks up everyday to work towards that mission."
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